By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe’s listed corporates trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) are embracing sustainable development mechanisms as part of their business models.
Some of the corporates in the drive to go green and embrace clean energy systems include Delta Corporation Limited and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited.
According to Delta Corporation, in its recent annual report for 2017, climate change has far reaching consequences for the company’s business and the communities where they live and work ranging from water scarcity and energy constraints to reduced food security and increased health risks.
The company says that its factory emissions, the packaging and trade refrigeration of beverages all have a significant carbon footprint and that it strives for a cleaner world where natural resources are shared and preserved for the future.
As part of its commitment, Delta will work with suppliers, distributors, retailers, municipalities and consumers to reduce emissions and waste across its value chain and reuse and recycle waste and packaging and to conserve water.
According to Canaan Dube, Delta Chairperson, some of the systems the company has put in place focusing on clean energy solutions include eliminating waste from its production processes. A significant amount of the waste from the company’s brewing operations is organic material such as spent grains which are sold to farmers as stock feed.
On reducing supply chain emissions, the production and distribution processes use significant amounts of fossil fuels and generate Carbon Dioxide emissions.
“We continue to record and analyse data on the levels of these emissions for comparison to set benchmarks. There are ongoing collaborative efforts across the supply chain to implement projects that reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” according to Dube.
The company is also continuing to replace CFC refrigerants in its coolers, reducing global warming potential and energy demand. This also includes use of solar powered and low energy demand equipment.
In a bid to drive efficiency, each production centre at Delta tracks the usages of water and energy against both internal and international benchmarks as part of the business key performance indicators.
Key initiatives such as the light-weighting of primary and secondary packaging, use of light weight trailers, use of natural lighting, installation of energy management devices and LED lighting. These initiatives are reported to have resulted in significant progress in the various energy usage measures.
The group is also spearheading the use of returnable glass bottles as an effective way of reducing the environmental impact of its packaging as they are much more resource efficient than the one-way packages such as cans and PET.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe says environmental and social inclusion is fundamental to all its business practices in the value chain. The business benchmarks its practices and performance against local and international statutory requirements and standards to ensure it remains Zimbabwe’s market leader in the telecommunications space and social responsibility.
According to Douglas Mboweni, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO, the business thrives to go beyond mere compliance but focuses on innovative solutions that promote sustainable growth.
According to the company’s annual report for 2017, energy consumption decreased due to a decline in power outages and the improved optimisation processes.
“This resulted in 12% reduction in energy costs for the year. Going forward the business is working on further improvements on energy management which include hybrid systems and solar base station solutions,” Mboweni said.
He said the decrease in energy consumption translated into a reduction in the carbon footprint levels.
Some of the initiatives being spearheaded by the company for a cleaner environment include network optimisation to improve efficiencies and also reduce generator run time, changing lighting equipment in the business to energy efficient lighting (LED, at most sites and promoting teleconferencing meetings to reduce fuel usage and related emissions.
The company is also focusing on integrated waste management systems in line with best practices aimed at ensuring efficiencies in resource utilisation, legal compliance and environmental management.
To this end, Econet has collaborated with the Environmental Management Agency and city authorities to provide bins. The company has committed to the donation of 1 000 bins to the city of Harare which will ensure accessibility of receptacles in greater Harare to minimise littering.
The company has also entered into arrangement with companies for waste recycling to ensure proper waste disposal. During 2017, the company shipped 360 tonnes of obsolete telecommunication equipment back to the suppliers for safe disposal under the Obsolete Equipment Take Back Programme.
Econet is also making efforts to reduce recharge cards litter by encouraging customers to utilise electronic recharging and EcoCash. Electronic recharge levels are reported to have reached 41%.
In the 2017/2018 financial year, the company is focusing on improving sustainability reporting. It also plans to promote partnerships with other corporate to manage e-waste, waste segregation and recycling across the business.